Presentation on theme: "Online Skills for Lexis & Westlaw University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Paul D. Callister, JD, MSLIS Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library."— Presentation transcript:
Online Skills for Lexis & Westlaw University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Paul D. Callister, JD, MSLIS Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library & Associate Professor of Law
Find the Database Don’t search for what isn't, there! Remember the Lexis Remember the Westlaw Use the Westlaw “IDEN” database Use Print and Online Directories Ask a librarian or call your rep! Generally, the smaller the database, the cheaper the search
Find the Database – Sample Problem Find a database with model or pattern civil jury instructions, preferably for Missouri.
Terms & Connectors Six Basic Types Boolean Operators (OR, AND, NOT) Phrase (“ ”) Proximity Connectors (/n, /s, /p and “preceding” operators) Nesting and Order of Operations Term Extenders and Universal Characters (! And *) Date Restrictions
Boolean Operators (And, Or, Not) AND finds only documents containing both terms. AND requires every search term joined by the expression to be present. It is more restrictive (than OR) and is a great tool for successive narrowing of searches. For instance, suppose I would like to find all federal cases discussing: "condemnation" and "taking" – 9,642 hits
Boolean Operators (And, Or, Not) OR finds documents with either term (including documents with both). OR requires any term connected by the expression to be present. It is the most inclusive connector. It will give you the greatest amount of search hits. This connector is good for synonyms or related topics. "condemnation" or "taking" – over 10,000 hits
Boolean Operators (And, Or, Not) NOT finds documents which do not contain the term. NOT requires that a term not be present. It is a limiter that should be used very sparingly. While excluding irrelevant hits, one runs the risk of excluding relevant documents. "condemnation" and "taking" and not "crime" – 8,481 hits Westlaw uses "but not" and Lexis uses "and not."
Phrase Searching When a group of words are put in quotation marks, the computer will only return hits with those precise grouping of words in that exact order. Phrases are a great way of clarifying a search and making it more precise. For instance, lets say that what you really wanted to find (from the example on the previous page involving "condemnation" and "taking") were all federal cases involving the concept of a “regulatory taking” and “endangered species.” This more narrow search (more narrow than only using Boolean operators) yields twenty hits. Failure to use phrase or quote marks will result in the expression being treated as an "or" search in Westlaw. taking condemnation (without quotes) becomes "taking or condemnation"
Proximity Connectors (/p, /s, /n, and pre/ operators): /p finds documents which contain the terms within the same paragraph. “regulatory taking” /p “endangered species” -- 6 cases /s finds documents which contain the terms within the same sentence “regulatory taking” /s “clean air act” – 1 case /n (where “n” is a number) finds documents which contain the terms within the given number of words (either preceding or following) from each other. paul /3 callister Note: It is almost always a good idea to search for a person using the method above. Authors often use a middle name or initial of which the searcher might not be aware.
Proximity Connectors (/p, /s, /n, and pre/ operators): To require a certain order for the terms use pre/n. peter pre/3 hook (LEXIS ONLY) To exclude a certain proximity use not /n. (peter pre/3 hook) not/3 (pan or captain)
Nesting and Order of Operations Connectors and operators in Lexis and Westlaw are processed, not from left to right, but according to a series of rules. Consequently, users are well-advised to take steps to control the order in which connectors and operators are processed.rules Order of operations can be controlled using parentheses. (peter pre/3 hook) not/3 (pan or captain) Operations within parentheses are resolved first, then those results are used in resolving the rest of the search. Nested parentheses are also allowed. ((peter pre/3 hook) not/3 (pan or captain)) and “journal of law” The innermost set of parentheses are processed first. General Rule: Any time you use two or more connectors or operators, use parenthesis to control the order of the search.
Term Extenders and Universal Characters (! and *) The asterisk (*) is used as a "wild card" or single character placeholder (known as a "universal character") in a search. Using an asterisk in place of a letter in a search term indicates that any character may occupy that space in the search results. "wom*n" will return "woman" and "women." A good use for the universal character is when the spelling is in doubt. "Lieberman" or "Leiberman"?--try "L**berman" The exclamation point (!) is used in both services as a root expander (sometimes called a truncation). A root expander allows you to designate a word root (or stem) in a search and receive all variations on that root. "wom!" will return all words starting with those three letters, including "woman" and "women," but also "womankind," "womb," "wombat," and so forth.
Date Restrictions One of the best ways of making a search more precise is by limiting a search to a specific time frame. Both Lexis and Westlaw allow you to limit a search to a range of dates, a "date after," and a "date before." The use of date restrictions will be illustrated later on.
Summary of Terms & Connectors Effectively controlled searches require the use of up to six different types of operators. Generally, you should always find ways to use as many different kinds of operators (from the six types as possible). Boolean Operators (OR, AND, NOT) Phrase (“ ”) Proximity Connectors (/n, /s, /p and pre/n operators) Nesting (use of parentheses) Term Extenders and Universal Characters (! And *) Date Restrictions
Sample Problem 1 Partner wants California murder case from the 1970s in which the court found that a “fetus cannot be a human being” and found the defendant not guilty of murder of the fetus as a result of beating up his girlfriend. In Westlaw use CA-CS-All
Sample Problem 2 You need to know if any federal, state, or bankruptcy court in California has found that a debtor’s claim for legal malpractice is a personal injury claim exempt from the reach of creditors. In Lexis use CA Federal and State Cases Database
Sample Problem 3 Use West CTA9 or Lexis (GENFED;9CIR)
Sample Problem 3 - Hints Use West CTA9 or Lexis (GENFED;9CIR)
Sample Problem 3 – Possible Solution (11 U.S.C. /3 522) & "profit-sharing plan" & ((sole or single or only) /2 (shareholder! or stockholder!)) & DA(AFT 12/31/1989)
Search Efficiently and Save Don’t Search for What Isn’t There! –Remember the “I” –Use Print and Online Directories –Use Westlaw’s IDEN The Smaller the Database the Cheaper the Search Control your search! Build searches slowly, use a variety of terms and connectors, and if you have two or more connectors, use parenthesis Use Focus and Locate Be Kind to the Trees! Don’t Print Annotated Statutes